Artists: Emilie Syme-Lamont & Safak Gurboga
Who's Afraid? presents two bodies of work: Safak Gurboga's The Big Bad Wolf and 1938 and Emilie Syme-Lamont's Revelations. These projects are a conversation, exploring themes of dispossession and displacement, the anthropomorphising of fears through myth-making and the cultural structures behind states of 'unhomeliness'.
The Big Bad WoIf and 1938 references a Kurdish massacre in Turkey 1937-38. The oversized depiction of the wolf in the story, both childlike and terrifying, has undergone a journey (finally resulting in its destruction by fire) for the artist to reclaim ownership over the monster. While speaking to this specific event, there are wider implications including the continuing disbursement of the Kurdish diaspora, crimes against humanity and what that means for the ethnic and cultural continuity of nations and the state of Gurboga's personal displacement.
Emilie Syme-Lamont's Revelations similarly uses the animal motif as stand-in to tell something of a post-colonial ghost story. The large white deer in the painting is a shapeshifter, at once a vulnerable and displaced creature as well as an uninvited visitor. Syme-Lamont's use of claw footed supports, anthropomorphic objects and museological display methods, reimagine a gothic site, responding to scientific, religious and historical transgressions.
Image: Safak Gurboga, The Big Bad Wolf and 1938, 2021-2022, oil on canvas & digital drawing, 500 x 202 cm.